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Bed Bug Control

Summary: Everyone seems to have different opinions about how to treat for bed bugs. What should the treatment consist of when a pest control company treats for bed bugs?

Deasca; Cincinnati, Ohio asks:

When treating a home that has bedbugs in the bedrooms and living room furniture, do you only treat those areas or do you treat the entire house? If I am unable to move furniture, is it okay just to treat only the visible carpet?
How long does a typical bed bug treatment take to do?

Dear Deasca:

Bed bug treatments present a lot of unique problems. Each infested location has its own set of rules. I'll do my best to answer your questions based upon my own experience with these treatments.

Treatment Areas
Generally, it is only necessary to treat in rooms where bed bugs have been found. Bed bugs will hide in locations where they can easily access a resting body; that is, places where people sleep. Bed bugs are generally nocturnal, so they hide during the day, but in locations near where people sleep or are inactive, such as on a couch while watching late night TV. People are too active in kitchens and bathrooms for bed bugs to climb on and feed. So, that is why most pest control companies focus their treatments on bedrooms or couches where people sleep.


There are exceptions to the rule of treating only bedrooms and areas where people sleep. If the bed bug infestation is in an apartment building where the infestation could be coming from a neighboring apartment unit adjacent to a kitchen, for example, then the kitchen should be included in the overall treatment. 

The question about moving heavy furniture is one of those "tricky" situations. Pest control companies want their customers to prepare a site for a bed bug treatment. But, what happens if the customer is incapable of moving heavy objects? The pest control company should take that problem into consideration. The pest control company should determine ahead of time if the customer is unable to prepare properly and offer to have two service people to move the furniture. Of course, the customer must be ready to pay extra for the additional labor involved. You cannot expect a pest management company to donate their labor, nor can you expect a company to arrive at the site and do the preparation without prior consent.

Since bed bugs can hide in so many locations, the bottoms of all furniture in the infested rooms should be checked. This can only be done once the drawers have been removed and you cannot expect the pest control company to do this for you. There is too much liability involved. Only when drawers have been removed and emptied can a proper treatment be done.

Treatment Time
Bed bug treatment times vary according to the number of rooms requiring treatment. If a room is well prepared and the pest control company has complete access to the baseboards and furniture, a typical bedroom can be treated by two technicians in about twenty minutes (40 minutes in total for 2 service technicians). If the room is mostly empty of furniture the treatment time would be much less. If the room contains a lot of upholstered furniture, the treatment time could be longer.


Time spent also depends upon the pest management company's treating techniques. Do they vacuum? Do they dust baseboards? Do they remove electrical wall plates for treatment? Do they use a steam machine for treating certain pieces of furniture? Do they caulk?

Due Diligence
Regardless of whether you are hiring a pest control company, a plumber or a painter, you are solely responsible for doing your due diligence before hiring. Check company ratings on consumer rating services like Angie's List or the Better Business Bureau. Ask for references from prior clients. How long has the company been in business? You can even purchase a credit rating from Dunn and Bradstreet.

Bed bug treatments are an inexact science. Every company does a treatment a little different from the next. That is not to say one idea is better than another. A successful treatment in one location can be a failure in another depending upon so many circumstances.

For more bed bug information please click here .

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